Amazon's Alexa Coming to Windows PCs

HP is adding a custom LED for Alexa to its HP Pavilion Wave desktop tower

Amazon has teamed up with leading PC manufacturers Acer, ASUS, Lenovo and HP to include its personal assistant on new Windows 10 devices that will arrive in 2018.

According to the press release owners of compatible Acer notebooks and desktops will be able to get more done by asking Alexa to check their calendar, create lists and answer questions; will be entertained by asking Alexa to play their favorite music, podcasts or audiobooks; and will be able to manage smart home devices by controlling lights, thermostats and home appliances through voice commands to Alexa. Notebooks with Acer Purified.Voice and four digital microphones, like the Switch 7 Black Edition and Spin 5, will support Alexa from up to 9 feet away.

Since the PC runs on Windows 10, the Pavilion Wave will be able to speak with Microsoft's AI assistant Cortana.

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Acer today announces that Amazon Alexa will be coming to select Aspire, Spin, Switch and Swift notebooks, as well as Aspire all-in-one PCs starting from Q1 2018. It'll also bring additional support for Alexa-PC integration for making calls and sending messages.

The Seattle-based company started with TV streaming boxes and standalone Echo speakers - but now, Alexa is getting into more gadgets, computers, and devices, even those made by companies not named Amazon. Amazon's digital assistant was already available for everyone as a web app, but it's not clear yet if this new desktop app will be restricted to select PCs with special mics. "We're delighted that ASUS will bring the Alexa experience to its laptop models - providing hands-free voice capabilities, and tens of thousands of skills, to PC customers at their desks and on-the-go". Amazon Alexa has spread from the company's Echo speakers into a growing number of third-party devices, in settings ranging from the auto to the bathroom.

Amazon's latest partnership with PC OEMs is separate from its partnership with Microsoft that aims to have Alexa and Cortana speak to each other.

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Acer is keen on taking ICT technology to new heights by integrating hardware, software and the aligned services such as the Internet of Things, gaming, and virtual reality. "This is a big step toward making Alexa available wherever customers might need her", Steve Rabuchin, Amazon Alexa VP, said in a statement.

As of mid-December, Amazon was said to have a roster of an estimated 25,000 Alexa skills, while Cortana was said to be on 230.

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